In a project for the Defense Department’s Defense Innovation Unit (DIU), computer scientists have turned to artificial intelligence and aerial imagery to construct a detailed damage assessment solution. The tool can be used remotely and automatically to determine the amount of damage to buildings and structures from a natural disaster or catastrophe. The prototype, known as the xView II model, was tested this fall, with the goal of rolling out a more finalized operational version next year.
“One of the biggest problems that faces our first responders today is building damage assessment,” Gupta shares. “Building damage assessment is actually a very critical task that happens early on in order to support the rest of the disaster response. But it is a very dangerous task. For example, with the wildfires in California, [they] pretty much have a 24- to 48-hour period to go in, figure out what buildings are damaged, how badly damaged they are, and where the damage occurred."